I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I am NOT a polygamist.

Joesph F. Smith, a former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his family. ©pbs.org

Today, the practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church, as it has been for over a century. Polygamy — or more correctly polygyny, the marriage of more than one woman to the same man — was a part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a half-century. The practice began during the lifetime of Joseph Smith but became publicly and widely known during the time of Brigham Young.

LDS Newsroom

Joseph Smith received revelation regarding plural marriage in 1831. He instated the practice privately; only those given permission or commandment to marry two or more women did so. Brigham Young‘s rather public, sizeable family drew attention to this peculiar tenet.

Even at that time, most men participating in a plural marriage only had two wives (LDS Study Manual, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah”). ‘Twas a unique practice, still, given that.

But, Latter-day Saints haven’t been polygamists for a really long time now.

In 1890, the Lord inspired Church President Wilford Woodruff to issue a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise.

LDS Study Manual

There are pockets of peoples still practicing plural marriage; none do so as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since “any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church” (LDS Study Manual). They’re splinter groups who formed awhile ago.*

Pretty much what these groups dress and groom like. You see them around border towns and at Costcos now and then. ©Route-Fifty

©2022 Chel Owens

*If you’re looking to understand the polygamist way of life, I recommend reading Love Times Three, by (ish) Joe Darger, Alina Darger, Vicki Darger, Valerie Darger; but mostly Brooke Adams who edited everyone’s words.


We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

40 thoughts on “I’m a Mormon, So…

  1. Going back to your post on the afterlife and heaven, what’s going to be happening to Joseph Smith and all his “wives”? Will they still be his wives for eternity or will there be a little negotiating with heavenly authorities?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did not find substantiated proof of this idea, but I remember hearing that Joseph ‘married’ his wives so they basically *could* get the Heaven Ticket. I mean, some were old and some were still married; he obviously didn’t enjoy any marital benefits with those, either.

      What I remember hearing, anyway.

      A similar question re the afterlife could be asked of those who get cremated. What happens to their remains? How will God know how to put the puzzle back together? 🙂


      1. I think first He would decide on a common language everyone would speak. Maybe the one before the Babel Tower fell?

        I don’t know, of course, but I imagine remains remain. It would be reasonable that everyone would be equal afterwards and this would include looks and abilities. I wouldn’t know if extra senses were required – extension of the visible spectrum, for example – or fewer senses – would physical pain be necessary? What would be perfection? Or maybe it’s not perfection afterwards? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fascinating series Chel esp to one such as me who fails to grasp organised religions of all kinds. This post is an example of my own difficulties. If I’ve understood the policy (if that’s the right word) of polygamy was a divine revelation to the Church’s original founder, reinforced by his successor. Then a later leader has another divine revelation changing, indeed contradicting this. How do you decide which one is right? Is it always the latest. What if a future leaders says he has had another revelation. Do you go along with that? And in the history of thr church how many revelations are claimed yet denied. How can you test their authenticity?
    These aren’t questions limited to your Church. They apply to the interpretation of the Bible, the Torah and the Koran. And all religions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent question, young Le Pard.

      Yes, we go with the latest revelation. A similar timeline and controversy surrounds allowing blacks to hold the Priesthood. You decide which one is right by (1) going by the latest and (2) we are ALL encouraged to pray about any direction given and receive a revelation for ourselves but (3) also are given the chance to ‘vote’ whenever a leader is put in (and whenever we hold General Conference twice a year) on whether we will uphold said leader’s decisions.

      You test the authenticity by everyone’s being in a revelatory state: keeping clean and maintaining contact with God, who is the real leader of the LDS Church.

      Perfect? No, of course not. All people experience corruptions, etc.
      The most workable with what you’ve got? I think so.


  3. I suspect that many people still think Mormons follow this custom. Education can be a painfully slow process.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a can of worms best left unopened. 🙂

        Two cans of worms, religious education and science education? Now I’m trying to remember a movie or tv show about a man surviving on what he found (was it post apocalypse or was he shipwrecked?) Anyway he found a lot of canned goods without labels. They must have been small cans. He opened the first, and it was beef consommé but it wasn’t enough to satisfy him so he opened a second can to double his bowlful. The second can contained raspberry jam.

        A bit of nonsense but I’m glad that’s out of my system. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

          1. You could post about this. Although, there’s little on science in the testaments to dispute, I believe; a lot more on politics and economics. The poor will always be with us, and, it’s easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than a rich man to pass into heaven.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. But even in Joseph Smith’s LDS you as a woman could not have been a polygamist. That was a right reserved for men. Seems a revelation that was a tad self-serving. Even if such practice has been abolished by the church it is a legacy that can’t be ignored, all religions have there right wing factions and I suspect it is still practiced quietly somewhere within the confines of the church community. If outted they may be disavowed as heretics or branded splinter groups but until then secretly accepted. No different that in other Christian sects or religions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a woman, yes I could have. I would not have been the polygynist but would of course been part of a decision to live with another woman as another wife. 😉

      And, no, this is just definitely not practiced secretly in some right wing sect of the LDS Church. It’s not Da Vinci Code, ya know.


      1. Yes you could have accepted and lives with “his” other wives but my point was you could not take multiple husbands (or wives) if you wanted too.


      1. I agree with you and they do not look happy. Why does he look so normal and they are almost dressed to attract attention? I understand they believe they are righteous but it just doesn’t seem so. Live and let live I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Not the worst idea. Imagine me having multiple wives. A few to just focusing on work and bringing home the moolah. A few more just to keep the house clean and raise the kids. A few more just to focus on me which really, is the most important part of the operation because I’m the one keeping the whole operation organized. Then again I can barely get one woman let alone several so I don’t know how old Joe did it although I guess he had the whole marry me to get into heaven thing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was probably easier for Joe because women didn’t have any rights in those days (not saying that’s a good thing at all, obvs.)

        But imagine one wife divorces you today and takes half your stuff. Now imagine 20 wives divorce you and cut your stuff into twentieths. I read an article about the late great James Caan who would have died much richer if he hadn’t had 4 ex-wives. Yikes! Poor guy had to dish out the money like they were the ones who played Sonny in the Godfather or got hobbled on screen by Kathy Bates.

        In conclusion, as I look back on my life, I think I only met one woman who wouldn’t have gone Fredo on me but I was too naive at the time to grab on. Oh well. Them’s the breaks.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m so old I’d have to be with a woman at least 15 years younger, I’d have to meet her tomorrow and have everything work out in the standard 2-3 year pre marriage courtship and I’d have to live to 90 just to see the kids grow up. I wasn’t able to get women my own age during my best, young years.

            I joke about getting women with Toilet Gator money but eh, would I really want a woman who just wants me for my Toilet Gator money?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Good point. She needs to love you for your hot body.

              In all seriousness, I think you could do it. I have friends from all walks of life with all variants of marriage successes and failures. It’s uncomfortable to date and face rejection but I also hear about how many women really want a dude to commit. Put Toilet Gator on your bathroom shelf and read Atomic Habits -or print out a free Five Year Plan template and do one thing every day that counts toward getting a baddie. 😀


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